, Volume 646, Issue 1, pp 311–326 | Cite as

Bacterioplankton in the littoral and pelagic zones of subtropical shallow lakes

  • Haig-They NgEmail author
  • David da Motta Marques
  • Erik Jeppesen
  • Martin Søndergaard


We measured bacterioplankton (phylotypes detected by fluorescent in situ hybridisation, morphometric forms, abundance and production) in samples collected in summer in the littoral and pelagic zones of 10 subtropical shallow lakes of contrasting area (from 13 to 80,800 ha). Compared to the pelagic zones, the littoral zones were overall characterised by higher macrophyte dominance and lower concentrations of total phosphorus and alkalinity and higher concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and humic substances. Similarities of bacterial production and biomass turnover and density of active phylotypes and morphotype proportions were related to similarities in a set of environmental variables (including nutrients, humic substances content, predator density and phytoplankton biomass), and some additionally to lake area. Horizontal heterogeneity in bacterioplankton variables (littoral versus pelagic) increased with lake area. Bacterioplankton biomass and production tended to be lower in the littoral zone than in the pelagic zone despite higher concentrations of DOC and humic substances. A likely explanation is higher predation on bacterioplankton in the littoral zone, although allelophatic effects exerted by macrophytes cannot be excluded. Our results indicate that organic cycling via bacterioplankton may be less efficient in the littoral zone than in the pelagic zone of shallow lakes.


Horizontal zonation Physiological status Bacterial morphotypes Bacterial predation Macrophytes Phytoplankton 



This work was supported by the Brazilian agency CNPq/MCT Taim Hydrological System, Site 7, part of the Brazilian network of Long Term Ecological Research-PELD (Grant 520017-98-1) and undertaken via the Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, UFRGS and Instituto de Pesquisas Hidráulicas, UFRGS. Special thanks go to Dr. Luciane Crossetti for phytoplankton analyses, Dr. Laura Utz for helping with ciliates handling, Dr. Luiz Kucharski for lending us the scintillator counter; Dr. Tiago Finkler Ferreira for macrophyte coverage data, valuable suggestions and comments and Anne Mette Poulsen for editorial assistance. EJ and MS were supported by the Villum Kann Rasmussen Foundation (CLEAR project), The Research Council for Nature and Universe (272-08-0406) and the EU projects EUROLIMPACS and WISER.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haig-They Ng
    • 1
    Email author
  • David da Motta Marques
    • 2
  • Erik Jeppesen
    • 3
  • Martin Søndergaard
    • 3
  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em EcologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto de Pesquisas HidráulicasIPH-Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Freshwater Ecology, National Environmental Research InstituteAarhus UniversitySilkeborgDenmark

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